Elite 84 jumped out to an early 11-4 lead behind stellar shooting and ball-handling by Sylvester Granda, who finished the night with 35 points and eight rebounds. Crusaders guard JC Medina hit a first-quarter buzzer beater to keep the lead at seven, 15-8.
The Crusader press in the second quarter produced four turnovers and kept them close, as Medina hit Jonathan Daniels twice for layups down the stretch. Elite 84 went into halftime with a 29-23 lead.
Behind eight third-quarter points from Granda, Elite 84 put up 19 points in the third quarter, but Crusaders forward Omar Diplan (22 points, six rebounds) put up 16 points in the second half to keep the Crusaders within striking distance.
With a minute left in the game and Elite 84 up by three, The Crusaders began to foul. Unfortunately, they fouled the wrong guy.
Elite 84’s Anferny Pena, who was named co-MVP with Sylvester Granda, hit six foul shots in the last minute of the game to clinch the 67-64 win for Elite 84.
Granda hit three big 3-point shots in the second half, and was the difference in the game.
The second game of the evening saw the 14 & Under Kabak All Stars, a team primarily made up of players from St. Stans, play the Goon Squad, who won the night before in a nail-biter.
In a high-scoring contest, Kabak came out firing on all cylinders, scoring 21 points in the first quarter.
While Goon Squad’s Will Lodico (21 points, seven rebounds) scored a team-high 11 points in the first half, they couldn’t keep up with Darnell Child’s (21 points, five assists) sensational ball handling and ability to get to the basket.
The little point guard was a fan favorite of the night, as he put on a spectacular show with moves typically seen from top-notch high school varsity prospects.
Kabak’s Devon Smith (11 points, four rebounds) also kept Goon Squad in check, as they could not overcome a 15-point third-quarter deficit. Kabak cruised to a 75-57 win.
The third game featured two 12-year-old squads who came to play some physical Heroes-type basketball.
M&E Electric, made up of kids primarily from Middle Village, played Woodside-based Queens Finest. M&E’s Joey Guardi (seven point, two assists) and Justin Akiki (15 points, five rebounds) combined for eight points in the first quarter to give their squad an 8-2 lead.
But in the second quarter, Queens Finest came alive as sixth-grader Jack Vasquez (10 points, eight rebounds) and River Cuevas (13 points, two assists) took control, scoring 11 points to give Queens Finest a 20-16 lead at halftime.
A 28-25 lead by Queens Finest at the start of the fourth quarter proved the two teams were evenly matched, but Queens Finest’s Matthew Guevara had two key baskets late in the game to propel the kids from Woodside to the title by a final score of 42-34.